Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Ragamuffin Reform'd

Fort Frederick Market Fair was this past weekend, and if I learned anything at all, it's that I am in desperate need of new 18th century clothing. My current set of togs - not even enough pieces to make a unique outfit for all of three days - are at least five years old. I snapped a tie on my favorite petticoat last year, and only got around to mending it (with a mismatched tape) on Saturday morning. I only own bedjackets, which are not appropriate for either the time and place I want to re-enact or the circumstances in which I normally wear them. My shoes need cleaning, my petticoats need hems, and I should really, really invest in more shifts.

This year at Market, I picked up a splendid new silk bonnet, a new handsewn cap, a handful of patterns, a tiny bit of fabric, and some jewelry. So now, my promise to myself is that I will:

  1. Actually sew up the stays pattern I cut out a year ago
  2. Make at least one new garment that "goes" with the new bonnet
  3. Men and/or finish the pitiful rags I already have

My goal is to put together a small wardrobe that wouldn't embarrass a shopgirl or lady of very modest means. I lean to portraying a middling-class sort of lady, since I have neither the time nor the resources to pull of an aristocratic or even moderately wealthy impression.

At the moment, I'm considering throwing in with a friend and doing primarily German-American, of which there was a substantial presence in the mid-Atlantic. I should also have a couple of changes of French/French-Canadian clothes for working in the shop (we sell French-Canadian historic pottery). In the next few posts, I'll start laying out a plan and gathering research.


  1. We may not live very close to each other but I would be happy to help you any way I can - as far as assembling your 18th century kit goes. You look great and your blue wooden shoes are to die for ...

  2. Fort Fred gave me the push I needed to make the J.P. Ryan pattern I've had for at least 3 years. I don't own a single set of 18th century clothing yet but I'm working on it!